A musician’s musician, and an activist, Peter Tosh used his music to inform and galvanize the masses. Reggae music was more than business, it was artistic expression and social responsibility. This accomplished musician first learned to play guitar by simply watching a man play, focusing merely on finger movements. Leaving his birth-name of Winston McIntosh behind, Peter Tosh embraced his new name and his calling to sing conscious music, speaking out against injustice and oppression on almost every chord. Tosh was conscientious as co-founder and member of The Wailers, but he was also quite dynamic as a solo artist.
His solo debut “Legalize It” quickly found its way into the hearts of reggae lovers and pro-cannabis supporters worldwide and was followed up by the likewise infectious “Equal Rights.” Some reggae historians claim Tosh hadn’t received as much mainstream adulation as former bandmate Bob Marley due to his ultra-militant stance even though collaborations with popular bands like The Rolling Stones gave him more solo exposure. However, Tosh reportedly put that responsibility in the hands of his label whom he felt did little to promote his work. Irrespective of mainstream popularity, Tosh went on to win the Grammy for “No Nuclear War” in 1987 as well as a posthumous Order of Merit in 2012.
With all his militancy and activism, my fave Tosh track is and will always be “Creation” because its words are real and true. I can always ride the wave of this song and find myself somewhere sweeter.